Dinner in an igloo
I’m now in the northern part of Finland, in the Lapland capital of Rovaniemi, which is a community that apparently Santa Claus lives near. As a matter of fact, the Hotel Santa Claus (where I’m staying) is said to have hosted the jolly man on more than one occasion. This evening I met up with some fellow travel journalists, one from Russia, two from France and two others are from the Ukraine. After getting settled in our hotel, we made a short journey to a place called, Snowland (Lumimaa), a seasonal igloo restaurant serving local fare. Snowland is not just a restaurant, but rather a snow/ice experience. In addition to the dining portion of the evening, there are many sculptures to admire as well as other structures on the property to explore. There is even a fire pit to cozy up to while sipping some Finnish vodka from a glass made of ice.
Snowland is not a place the locals frequent often, but rather it caters to tourists, who like me…travel long distances for the unique experience. I won’t lie to you, it is pretty cold inside, but the staff does everything to make the experience as comfortable as possible. If you did not dress adequately, they have blankets you can barrow, while the seating areas are covered in reindeer pelts, which are quite warm and surprisingly soft. The meal consists of a starter course, which on this evening was a tomato bisque. The entree was a minced reindeer patty with local root vegetables in a tasty sauce. For dessert we had warm local berries topped with rich cream, with a choice of coffee or tea. My first instinct was to eat my food very quickly, since of course I was in an igloo at near freezing temperatures. To minimize the cooling process, a server brings a very hot stone that is placed on a piece of sawn log (so as not to melt the ice table).
The entire experience at Snowland is one I will not soon forget. If you’ve ever been to Snowland before, please post a comment below and let me know what you thought of the experience.